A Wonderful Way To Have Lunch

To many of us think that to enjoy a nice meal or the surroundings we’re in, it has to be a super special occasion.  This isn’t true. All you need is simply to be surrounded by the people you enjoy being with, or just simply to be aware of and enjoy what is around you. That’s what makes it a special occasion.  One that you’ll remember.  You can discover so many wonderful places close to home.

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This is a little cafe that sits on a harbour overlooking the yachts that are docked.  Knowing that it was there, but never going until my friend Susan asked me to meet her there for coffee once.  I loved it.  Now my husband and I go quite often.

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Seeing the yachts on the water is so relaxing.

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A time you can sit and dream about whatever pleases you.  Winning the lottery so you could buy one of these yachts, or going on a dream vacation.  Maybe even opening up a cafe with surroundings like this.

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How nice would it be sailing away.

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For now, I just enjoy having lunch with my husband, watching the yachts and people around me.  Sitting here, time just seems to melt away.

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You could be adventurous and go for a walk, which we sometimes do.

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But always coming back to relax and enjoy the scenery.  So take a look around where you live and discover places you can enjoy everyday, or whenever the mood strikes you.  I love going to cafés and restaurants.  You see, that’s where I get inspired.  That’s where I get ideas for recipes that I can make my own.  It is really amusing when you take pictures of what you are eating, seeing people watching you and wondering why.  Others love taking pictures of scenery, people and places. No one thinks anything of it.  I love taking pictures of food. Each to his own.

It all comes down to what you enjoy.  Life isn’t that long, so take time to smell the roses or whatever else is around you.  It isn’t coincidence that you are where you are.  So enjoy!

Baba

 

Super Simple Carmel Sauce

This caramel sauce is so super simple that you’ll make it all the time.  I always thought that Sweetened Condensed Milk was just for baking.  WRONG.  I can’t get enough of this stuff.  When I make this I store it in a little container in my fridge and it’s ready to go when I need it.  The only disadvantage to it is you can also eat it by the spoonful.  It tastes like a little bit of heaven in your mouth.  Thick, creamy and sweet. Oooohhhh it’s so good!

imageThis is the only ingredient you will need.

imagePlace the can of Sweetened Condensed Milk into a pot of cold water, making sure the can is totally covered with water. Bring it to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours. Yes 2 1/2-3 hours.

I cover the  pot leaving the lid just off to the side a bit.  I also keep a kettle of  HOT water handy in case I need to add it to the simmering pot with the Sweetened Condensed Milk.  The Sweetened Condensed Milk must always be submerged in water.  When it has simmered for 2 1/2 hours remove it from the water and let it cool completely.

imageThen open the can.

imageThis is what you have created.  A soft sweet carmel that you can use in your coffee, tea, salad dressings, baking, sandwiches, on burgers, hot dogs, just let your imagination run wild.  I have a recipe on my blog for a green tea frappicino using this. FANTASTIC!  Seriously, you HAVE to try this!

Fantastic Strawberry Jam

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Strawberry jam is so easy to make if you have the right recipe and method.  For years I  tried all different kinds of these recipes, without much success.  Needless to say I was sceptical of this recipe but I thought I would give it a try. There was no looking back. My daughter-in-law and her friend decided to make strawberry jam and asked me to show them how I made mine.  I quickly agreed.  You see I had an ulterior motive.  I could take pictures of the process for my blog without having to make it myself. This is an easy method. I encourage you to give it a try.

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Wash your jars and their rings in the dishwasher.  It’s also ok to do them by hand, remembering to rinse them really well.  Preheat your oven to 170 degrees farinheit.  Place the jars into the oven where they will remain until you will be ready to use them.  Also place a spoon in the freezer.  Trust me on this one.

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Hull your strawberries and place them into a large bowl.  I challenge you not to eat these while performing this task.

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With a potato masher, mash them to the consistency you like.  I like mine with a lot of lumps.  I wouldn’t use a food processor.  It would make them too watery.  Oh gosh they smell heavenly!

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Place the berries into a pot.

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Add your Certo Crystals.

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Place the pot on your stove on a medium-high heat, stirring continually until it comes to a boil.

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Add your sugar

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Lower your heat a little after mixture of berries, certo and sugar comes to a boil, retaining a smaller boil.  Stirring often, allow mixture to boil about 40 minutes.  Careful not to burn the jam.  The house now smells ssssooooo good.

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After 40 minutes skim off the foam.  It will have reduced quit a bit and will be thicker.  Can you smell the strawberries?  Oh I can.  Mmmmmm!

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Then take out spoon from freezer, dip quickly into jam.  If the spoon is coated your jam is ready. If it runs off spoon just cook a bit longer.  Remove pot from heat and continue stirring 5 minutes.

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Into a pot with water, place 2 sealing lids, bring them to a boil and boil them for 6 minutes.

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Take only two jars out of the oven at one time.  Oops, sorry for the glare.  It’s all about not having enough arms to do two different things.  Taking a hot jar out of the oven and taking a picture of it at the same time.

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Insert wide END of a large funnel into the jar, proceed to fill jar and repeat with second jar.

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Take a clean and damp tea towel wiping the very top of the jars.

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With another dry clean tea towel, wipe the same edges to ensure they are dry for a good seal.

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Remove the sealing lids from the boiling water 1 at a time.  Wipe in a dry clean tea towel, making sure it is completely dry.

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Very carefully, place sealing lids are on jars.

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Take the rings putting them on the jar but place finger on sealing lid to ensure it doesn’t move while tighting.

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Take the two jars, placing them on a flat surface that have a very thick towel on it, covering them with another thick towel.  Don’t they look like you know what you are doing?

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I like to use nice thick beach towels.  Don’t they look pretty? Repeat with other jars. Only uncovering when 2 more jars are ready to be placed under towels.

When you have finished filling all the jars and have placed them under the towels, leave covered overnight.  They should be sealed next morning.  Any jars not sealed properly, use now or refrigerate .

Well I knew this would happen.  I had no intentions of doing jam this year.  After helping the girls and doing the blog, I’ve decided to do some jam.  So off to the market I go tomorrow.

 

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2 cups hulled, mashed strawberries

1 box certo crystals, (57 grams)

3 cups sugar

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

Place mason jars in the oven at 170 degrees.

Hull the strawberries and mash with a potato masher. Only doing 4 1/2 cups at a time. NEVER do more then  this at one time because the jam won’t turn out.

Mix certo crystals with fruit in a large pan.

Place over medium-high heat and stir continually until it bubbles.

Add 3 cups sugar.

After berries, certo and sugar come to a boil, again continually stirring, lower heat a little but maintain a smaller boil.

Stirring often allow mixture to boil 40 minutes – careful not to burn jam.

Place teaspoon in freezer for 15-20 minutes-using a frozen spoon, dip quickly into jam and set aside for a couple of minutes.  If jam sticks to spoon, then it is good to go.  If not then it needs a few more minutes to cook.

If jam is set, take pan off heat and remove foam then stir for about 5 minutes.

Pour jam into heated jars. Make sure sealing lids are clean and dry place the sealing lid on the jar and the ring, tighten.

Place jars onto a flat surface covered with a thick towel. Then cover the jars with another thick towel and let sit over night.  Each jars top will pop as it cools. This will create a good seal. You will be able to see that the lid will fall and if pushed will not move. If any jars have not sealed, use now or refrigerate .

Each quart or 4 1/2 cups of berries makes one jar of jam.

There will be times when the jam is too hard or too soft because the berries are soft from a lot of rain or they are small and hard from not enough rain.

Just feel a sense of accomplishment because of what you have made but most of all enjoy the fruits of your labour.  Ha ha, get it?

Thanks Sarah and Jenn, you’ve just given me more work to do at home.

 

Iced Coffee (OMGosh)

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If you love iced coffee, you’ll love this.  To me this is better then Starbucks Double Shot Coffee that I order.  I have been trying to make an imitation copy of  the Double Shot but I always seem to fall short.  Seems to lack in taste till I made this .  I just didn’t have the time to be brewing espresso shots when I wanted a coffee so I thought, what if I just put the grounds into a jar with some water.  The first time I made this I of course eyeballed it, went to bed and fell asleep.  Next morning when I came down into the kitchen there it sat on the counter.  I thought it would be ruined. Not wanting to dump it, because my espresso is expensive I strained it and placed it in the fridge.  Hoping there would be nothing wrong with it when I decided to make a coffee. Well guess what, it was fine.  I now have a new best friend which I have discovered, you can use not just in baking but in drinks.  Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Oooohhhh, is it ever good!  When you marry these two ingredients together, it’s a match made in heaven.

To my surprise cruising recipes one day on different websites didn’t I find a recipe similar to this.  It was on Pioneer Women.  I was flabbergasted.  Here I was trying to make shortcuts for myself and thinking I’ve come up with a new way of doing something and it was already out there. Amazing!  Well here is my version.

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My coffee of choice is espresso.  You can use what you like.

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I placed the coffee into a jar and added the water.

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Then I gave it a stir to make sure all the grounds were in the water.  Placed the lid on the jar and left it at room temperature.

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After 8 hours, I place a sieve over a pot because that’s all I had.

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Placed some paper towels into the sieve to act as a filter.

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Then poured the coffee into the filter from the jar.  Sorry, no picture but it’s a little hard to pour the coffee, hold the sieve and take a picture.

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From the pot I poured the coffee into a jar that would seal.  Again no picture, I need another arm to take the pictures.  Then I placed the jar in the fridge.

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When I finally had some time to have an iced coffee, I filled the glass up with ice and added the coffee.  Don’t you just love these little jars?  You could also use a mason jar.

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Next I added the Sweetened Condensed Milk.  This stuff I could eat with a spoon.  Funny thing is, I never have sugar in my coffee.

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I then put a lid on the jar and shake it until it is combined.

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Ooohhh it looks good!

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I place a lid with a spout on top and the ring for the jar, inserted my straw and I’m mobile to go where I please, with my coffee in hand.  This for the fraction of the cost that I use to pay at Starbucks. Oh, the lid with the spout was purchased at Canadian Tire.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces Espresso

4 cups of Water

Sweetened Condensed Milk

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

In a jar combine espresso and water.  Cover and let it sit at room temperature.  I left it overnight when I first made it so now I follow that process.

Line a strainer with paper towels and pour the coffee through into a pot. From the pot into a jar with a lid that will seal. Place in fridge use as needed

ICED COFFEE

Fill a glass with ice.  Pour your coffee in and add the Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Cover with your lid and give it a good shake.  You could also add some other milk of your choice if you like with the Sweetened Condensed Milk. A good solution if you find the coffee to strong.

Enjoy!

 

Low And Slow Flank Steak

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I love recipes that I can do in advance.  This for sure is one of them.  You can do much of this ahead or just parts of it.  It’s all up to you.

Flank steak is usually a tough piece of meat but cooked properly it will be soft.  It is fun to challenge yourself to see what you can do with a rather inexpensive cut of meat.  The first time I made this recipe I was taking it to my sons birthday party.  It was going to be buffet style and I thought it would make a nice addition.  Though, never having made it before, when it was ready to go I did hesitate, thinking people would not take to it.  So I thought I would jazz it up a bit by adding spices in a marinade.  Well I was overwhelmed at the response.  I was asked for the recipe a number of times.  I don’t think there was one person who didn’t compliment me on it.  The ultimate compliment came from a friend of my sons and his wife, Jenn.  Her little guy being only 3 years old, is a real picky eater and she said he loved it and asked for more meat.  Thanks Lucca.  I knew that I had a winner with this crowd.  It just doesn’t stop there.  Whenever I make it people are always making this sound when they eat. MMMMM, OOOOO, even the guys will say, this meat is delicious or this is awesome! People always asking for the recipe.  So guess what?  I decided to post it.

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I started by grating the rinds of the lemon and limes I was using, then adding them to a container.  Next came the juice.  I like to use some type of jar with a lid.

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Next I added some cumin.

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Then some fabulous chilli powder.

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Salt

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Pepper

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And sugar because I wanted to.

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I love the taste of Worcestershire, so I added some of it.

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Then came the mustard.  Using whole grain because that’s what I first had seen when opening the fridge.

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Next I grated fresh garlic.  I don’t think that you can ever have too much garlic.  Though my husband disagrees, so I have to limit what I use.  Though, sometimes I do sneak some extra in.

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Finally the oil.

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Give the container a good shake and there you have it.

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Now I place my steaks, which I slashed, into the pan that already had some marinade in it. I poured more marinade on top of the meat, covered it with foil and placed it in the fridge for 24 hours, while flipping it a few times , making sure it was well coated.

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This was the result. Into the oven it goes. When baked and cooled place it in the fridge covered overnight.

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Next on a cutting board thinly slice the steak with an electric knife.

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Place it in a clean pan, I’m funny that way. I added beef soup, but you can certainly add the marinade.  This is so the steak won’t dry out when reheating.  Cover with foil and place it in the oven.

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Now we can take care of the veggies.  Slice your onions.

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And your peppers.  It’s hard not to nibble here.  The colours are amazing.

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Line a pan with foil.  Add olive oil and spices.

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Then add veggies and using the best tools in the kitchen, your hands. Toss veggies till well coated.  During the last minutes of cooking your steak, add the veggies and you can adjust your seasoning.  Look at the colours. Amazing!

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Remove steak from pan, place on platter, surrounding it with the veggies.  I mean really.  How could you not want to eat this?  I just love the colours.

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Place the meat and some veggies in some buns or just on your plate. Looks good enough to eat.  So what are you waiting for?

 

 

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

2 whole Flank Steaks

1 Lemon Rind Grated And Then Juiced

1-2 Lime Rinds Grated And Juiced

4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

4 cloves Garlic Grated

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

1 Tablespoon Cumin

1 Tablespoon Chilli Powder

1/4 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 Onions, Sliced

1 Green Pepper, Sliced

1 Red Pepper, Sliced

1 Yellow Pepper, Sliced

1 Orange Pepper, Sliced

Olive Oil, For Coating Pan

Fresh Buns

Feta Cheese (opt.)

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

In a container mix together lime juice and grated rind, lemon juice and grated rind, cumin, chilli powder, sugar, salt, pepper, grated garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and olive oil until well combined.  Pour half into a pan.  Place steak on it then add rest of marinade making sure the  steak is well coated.  Cover and place in the fridge for 12 hours.  You could do it for less time, but I love the flavour during the longer marinading time.  I have even left it for 24 hours.  During this time turn the steak a few times to ensure that each side sits in the marinade.  After marinading is complete you can bake all as is in a 325 degree oven for approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Let it cool and place in fridge until the next day.  I find that this process allows you to cut the meat easily without it shredding.  Next day slice the steak with an electric knife and place in a clean pan.  You can use the marinade or what I like to do is add some beef stock to the pan, cover it and place it in a low oven 275 – 300 degree oven for 1 hour or so. Making sure it is heated right through.

During the time that the steak is being heated, line a baking pan with foil.  Pour your olive oil on it, add cumin, chilli powder, salt and pepper to the oil. Place your vegetables on top and toss until the veggies are well coated.  During the last 20 – 30 minutes baking time of your steak add your veggies to the oven.  Bake them to the crispness that you prefer.

Remove all from the oven.  Place the already sliced meat down the middle of a serving platter then around the outside of the meat, arrange your veggies.  It looks gorgeous.  Good enough to eat, as they say.

You can eat this served on a bun of your choice with a little feta sprinkled on top, even some dollops of sour cream or just as is.

This is such an easy recipe to make ahead of time, so when your guests arrive you can spend more time with them.

ENJOY!

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